10 members strong, The Northern Folk are still evolving both in sound and lyricism

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10 members strong, The Northern Folk are still evolving both in sound and lyricism

Photo: Mark Day
Words by Marnie Vinall

We chat to the band before they hit Sunset Sounds in Malvern East this Sunday.

Ten-member folk band, The Northern Folk have been making a name for themselves across the country with their unique blend of folk, pop, stomp and rock. Or as lead vocalist of the band, Paul Dyason puts it, “We play sort of folk meet blues, stomp-y big band vibes. Mostly, the songs start as folk songs and turn into whatever they turn into.

“The songwriting is very much lyrical folk and the band incarnation is a much bigger sound,” the singer-songwriter explains.

The bigger sound isn’t surprising either given the number of musicians in the band. The combination of many different instruments and influencers mean that each song is layered with a lot of depth and variety. This only adds to the uniqueness of the band. For example, as Dyason tells us, “There are very few folk acts [unlike themselves] that have a horn section”.

Each member bringing his or her own style tastes and alternate influences has been instrumental to the band’s collective sound. “I’m very much a lyrics-based listener, and therefore writer,” Dyason continues. “I love a narrative or a story, or some sort of message in what I listen to. Whereas there are other members of the band that are definitely more harmony-based listeners. So, I think it’s a collaboration of different styles and influencers that very-much make our sound.”

This Sunday, you can enjoy their distinct tunes for yourself at the free live music event, Sunset Sounds, going down at Central Park in Malvern East. Each year over the summer, the City of Stonnington put on a free concert series to give their community a chance to dance, eat and get out into the suburb’s parks and greenery.

Dyason explains that he’s excited to be a part of this year’s event. “I’ve spoken to a bunch of people who’ve been to these events before and I’ve heard nothing but glowing reports.”

As they prepare for their Sunset Sounds show, The Northern Folk will be hoping to bring a performance that everyone can enjoy, flaunting both their danceability and lyricism.

“I think that’s something that we lean into: the fact that if someone doesn’t want to listen to lyrics, then there’s a harmonic element that they’ll appreciate. And if people aren’t interested in that, then there’s a visual spectacle. There’s generally something for everyone regardless of their tastes or preferences”, Dyason says. “So, I hope we bring a good time for everyone – that’s what we’re hoping to do.”

The Northern Folk will play alongside indie-pop outfit, Rach Brennan & The Pines. Dyason is no stranger to the group, having played recently together at Sofar Sounds just six weeks prior. “They were unreal. So, I’m very much looking forward to seeing them again with a full band lineup.”

As you dance the evening away, you won’t go hungry as there will be plenty of food trucks to keep you energised and your tastebuds satisfied. It’s an element Dyason isn’t too unhappy about. “There are a few things I appreciate as much as food and music, so you put the two together and I’m the happiest man,” he says.

Dyason also encourages punters to put their money towards their merch, where all profits will go directly to the bushfire appeal.

“We’re putting all our merch towards the fires because we’re from Albury – the fires aren’t far off from there,” he explains. “People should come along and buy merch and donate to them because there are people up there that need a lot of help.”

The money will go to the GoFundMe, ‘Rebuild Upper Murray’, which helps the devastated fire-affected communities of Cudgewa and Corryong.

The page was set up by fellow musician, Joshua Collings, who The Northern Folk are well acquainted with. “He’s doing some great work for his community,” Dyason says. “So we’re putting our merch and our performance towards that because they need a lot of help.”

Head down to Sunset Sounds this Sunday to get involved and enjoy some free music alongside the Stonnington community.

Catch The Northern Folk at Sunset Sounds going down this Sunday January 12 at Central Park in Malvern East. It all kicks off from 5pm and is totally free. Find out more here.